Today Is Diwali, The Festival Of Lights!
Today, millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains all over the world will celebrate Diwali. Also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights it is one of the most eagerly awaited and widely celebrated festivals of India.
On this day, most people start the day by going to the temple (place of prayer) to seek blessings. After that they visit friends and family, exchanging gifts and Indian sweets. Since buying gold jewelry is considered very auspicious during this time, the women all dressed in their finest Indian attire, often head to the jewelers in the afternoon.
At night, the skies in India light up with colorful firework displays. However, these are not professional displays, but just adults and children having fun with their own stash of firecrackers. The young ones stick to the sparklers, while the older ones brave it out with the louder, more powerful ones. The commotion often continues late into the night until everyone is done with their very last firecracker!
The legend behind Diwali varies amongst the different states of India. While the stories may differ, they all celebrate the triumph of good over evil! Diwali also marks the end of the Indian calendar year. Tomorrow all the Hindus will celebrate the first day of the year 2067. That is because the Hindu calendar is 57 years ahead of the conventional Christian calendar that the entire world follows.
For kids living in India, Diwali is the equivalent of Christmas in the USA. They get a week's vacation from school, receive gifts from their parents and other relatives (no Santa Claus however!), eat great food and get to play with sparklers and fireworks. Sounds fun doesn't it?
Sources: About.com, BBCnews.com